you never know unless you give it a go!
When I found out about TGBSS I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out some new sports. I knew there would be certain sports now off limits to me but instead I challenged the norm, I challenged myself and proved that I am still capable of participating whilst being in a wheelchair.
Wheeling into the arena the scale was evident, filled with multiple stations; showcasing a vast selection of sports, challenges, competitions and inflatable structures, equipment and simulators.
First stop was the baseball stand. Yes I am in a wheelchair but I can still swing a bat. Not sure they were expecting much but hearing the ‘ding’ when you hit the ball perfectly with the bat, well nothing compares! The coaches and team members from Exeter Spitfires were impressed and the father and son combo who were waiting to have a go were taken aback.
For me it wasn’t proving to others that I can’t do things, it was showing them how it doesn’t limit or stop me from giving things a go, whilst in a wheelchair. This continued throughout the morning session.
After getting the obligatory photo with the women’s hockey world cup trophy (yes you read that right – what a chance to be able to get that close to the trophy). I had a go at the flicking contest. I wouldn’t leave this station until I had flicked the ball into a winning target! This was far more challenging then I anticipated with adapting it around the chair but it didn’t take me too long to score.
The gym area was personally, a great success. My strength sessions at the gym are definitely paying off…
Personally it allowed my team the Devon Racqueteers wheelchair badminton club to showcase our sport. Many comments we received were around the difficulty the public faced:
That people didn’t realise how difficult it is to play sport in a wheelchair
How people found it hard to hold the racquet whilst trying to move the chair and then to hit the shuttlecock, all in a short space of time
The control and strength needed to play sport in a wheelchair
The high cost of equipment to allow wheelchair users to play sport was a huge shock
If anyone wants to give wheelchair badminton a go, we welcome and are happy to see new players at the club.
I met the guys at the cricket stand and it was a great laugh. Challenges included throwing accurately, catching ability and batting, I had a go at them all. It was great fun that I could do all this even in a chair. I was given information about the club and the appropriate disability sessions that they hold. In my eyes this basically meant I had been scouted and soon, I would be signing a contract for Somerset CCC. Which was nearly a reality, as in came the legend, that is, Marcus Trescothick. It was such an honour to meet him and a memory I will treasure forever.
It didn’t stop there I had a go on the golf simulator, volleyball, basketball, Batak reaction challenge, table tennis and table football.
After putting off all the football challenges I decided to have a chat to the Exeter City lads. After trying to avoid the subject I gave it a go. Instead I threw the balls into the targets, no-one said it had to be kicking did they?!! By surprise I ended up being joint top place. I’ll take that!
I saw the athletic stand and thought perfect; I am going to try the high jump. Laughter and curious faces aroused but instead I thought I’d stick to the track! This has inspired me and I will be looking to go down to Exeter Arena and give wheelchair racing a proper go. Who knows where this will lead me… well hopefully the finish line!
TGBSS was a great event, which has lots of potential. It had challenges and taster sessions for everyone, a real family event, which if you are anything like my family, it got competitive very quickly!
A chance to:
Meet local sportsmen/ heroes
See the Hockey Women’s World Cup trophy
Try new sports
Find out about local teams
I hope that others are encouraged to take up sport, whether that is at their local club, supporting their local team, or gaining confidence in giving something new a try. As you never know unless you give it a go.